Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Review: Tom T's Hat Rack by Michelle Spry

Hi Folks, I have a lovely book to share with you today.

Story Summary : Tom T's Hat Rack is a delightful story about a lovely little girl called Shelby. Shelby's parents work in the local hospital, so as a result her wonderful neighbours Mr. and Mrs. T adopt her like she is their grandchild. Shelby, loves Mr. and Mrs.T so when Mr.T finds out he has cancer, Shelby is right by his side. She visits with Mr.T, accompanies him on medical appointments and does her best to keep him in good spirits. Summer is approaching and Shelby's teacher knows that she will be teaching Shelby and her friends again the next year so she gives them a little homework assignment. To write a story about something they did during the summer that will change their lives for the better. While Shelby's school friends are taking trips and visiting relatives, Shelby is excited to stay home, as she will be be spending her days with Mr and Mrs T. Mr.T decides to ask Shelby to help him with a little project over summer so they set to work. Buying the supplies from the hardware, sanding the wood and painting it and all the while Shelby works very hard without complaint. It comes time to put the project together and Mr T. explains that when he was having his cancer treatment, all his hair fell out and he wished he had a hat to cover it. They put their project together and Shelby realises that they have built 12 hat racks for the hospital for people to borrow hat's during their treatment. They present the hat racks to the hospital and Shelby hits on an even better idea. She decides that hats are mainly for boys, so her and Mr T. set about to build a rack of scalves for the girls. She even donates her pocket money to help buy some scarves to put on the rack. Summer draws to an end and Shelby returns to school to submit her homework. She writes about her time with Mr and Mrs T. and their project for the patients in the cancer ward at the hospital. Her teacher is delighted and Shelby's homework it given pride of place on the school noticeboard, with a message to all the kids to try to think of something each day that will help other's, a wonderful example of "Paying It Forward."

I enjoyed this story for many reasons. I loved the relationship that Shelby develops with Mr and Mrs T. My own parents function as adoptive grandparents to a family close to us, and I have watched how wonderful this reciprocal relationship has been over the years. It's hard for working parents but I believe Ms Spry has really shown how much Shelby's parents love her inspite of their busy working lives. I love that Ms Spry has tackled the topic of when a loved one is sick and how we can do our best to help them along during their treatment. Shelby is a kind and caring and selfless little girl who shows great character as she helps her community and learns how good it can be to "Pay It Forward" with no hope of a return.

The illustrations in the book are absolutely beautiful. I think they add so much to the story by showing this lovely little girl and how she impacts everyone around her.I felt extremely moved by the story as I read and I believe this book would be very suitable for children aged 6-9 but I think that adults and children alike will enjoy this.

The conclusion of the book has some wonderful ideas on how we can all do our part in "Paying It Forward," including a beautiful illustration of how we can make a hat rack just tike Mr T's.

In the foreword, Ms Spry states that proceeds of the book will be donated to cancer charities, just another example of her commitment to "Paying It Forward."

Note: I was given a copy of this book from the Author in exchange for an honest review. 
 If you wish to know more about the Author, please visit

See you in the bloggosphere, Julie Anne Grasso


  1. Great review Julie! I love the concept of "paying it forward" - that lesson never gets old! Be sure to link the review in the Kid Lit Blog Hop, ok? :)

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by Renee, is was a beautiful book and I am very happy to have read it. Cheers Julie